Lecture addresses democracy crisis

“Democracy among the outraged: from global emergence to the representation crisis”, was the subject of the lecture offered by FGV’s Sao Paulo Executive Education MBA in International Relations.
Public Policy
27 July 2018
Lecture addresses democracy crisis

Could the impact of newfound social movements, which led crowds to hit the streets around the world, and the emergence of rulers averse to democracy lead to a Representative Democracy crisis? This was the subject of the lecture “Democracy among the outraged: from global emergence to the representation crisis”, given by José Henrique Bortoluci and offered by FGV’s Sao Paulo Executive Education MBA in International Relations as the opening lecture of the 6th Executive Education Week, held in Sao Paulo from July 23-27.

“These movements, linked to crises that have successively affected countries such as the USA, Brazil, Egypt and the countries of the Arab Spring, Greece and Mexico, among others, jeopardize the successful model that has added market institutions to representative democracy, shortly after the end of the Cold War, which led Francis Fukuyama to decree the end of history”, said Bortoluci.

However, this scenario was short-lived. “While, in the transition from the 1980s to the 1990s, the overwhelming majority of thinkers was dedicated to reflecting on the transition from authoritarian to democratic regimes, what we see now are experts studying concepts that were thought to have been overcome, such as Fascism, for instance, to the point that 2018’s major representative launch is titled ‘How Democracies Die’, by Stephen Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt”, said the professor.

According to the professor, the great destabilizing factor in this model was the gradual and quick loss of confidence in institutions responsible for the mediation between rulers and ruled, and their replacement by a kind of leadership that claims to undertake this representation directly.

“I refer to institutions such as the Judiciary, the print media, as representatives of the first kind, and rulers such as Trump, claiming to represent the people’s will directly, without any kind of mediation”, he said.

According to the professor, this kind of renewed populism differs from fascism because authoritarianism does not flirt with the language of violence.

Another factor that undermines the role of democratic institutions are the so-called autonomist movements, which, according to Bortoluci, start small and with specific demands, but can grow and catalyze other social demands. “One example was the Passe Livre (Free Pass) movement from 2013, which brought up other suppressed social demands, to which authorities initially failed to respond adequately”.

Autonomist movements pose a new decision-making process, through long assemblies and processes, reminiscent of a direct democracy model. “Despite this kind of rhetoric also being part of the democracy crisis scenario, they are compatible with the democratic movement, which assumes the existence of conflict”.

Given this scenario, Bortoluci raised questions regarding the future of democracy. Despite not having a clear answer, the professor risks saying that democracy will require maintaining or renegotiating the social pact in the future, amidst a scenario of less economic dynamism and growing capitalist concentration, coupled with the urgent need to reinvent the institutional bases of representation.

The event, held by FGV in Sao Paulo on July 23-27, featured free lectures by major monikers in the market, covering the following themes: Change Management – Behavioral and Emotional Aspects; How to Translate a Global Strategy into the Local and National Reality; The Importance of Evidence-Based Medicine for Clinic and Hospital Management; Emotional Intelligence: how to lead yourself and the team; The exclusion of ICMS tax benefits from the Income Tax calculation bases; Fake News; How to leverage your career, generating more value for your company; International Democracy and Tax Planning as a Value Management Tool for Finance Professionals.

Go to the website for more information on the MBA in International Relations and other FGV Sao Paulo Executive Education programs.